Dr. Kenya Taylor
Mortar Board adviser, 308.865.8843

Dr. Don Welch, an award-winning poet and former Reynolds Chair in Poetry at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, will present a “Last Lecture” on Thursday, Feb. 15,  at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. in Copeland Hall, Room 142. Refreshments will be served after the presentation.

The Last Lecture Series presentation is an annual event sponsored by Mortar Board. UNK faculty give a presentation as if it was their last lecture. Every year, Mortar Board members nominate a faculty or staff member who has had an impact on them, either in or out of the classroom, and then the members vote to select a speaker from among the nominees.

“The faculty member selected is invited to present the ‘Last Lecture,'” said Dr. Kenya Taylor, Mortar Board adviser and dean of UNK Graduate Studies and Research.
“The faculty member may speak about anything,” she said, “but the faculty member is told to prepare the presentation as if it were his or her last opportunity to speak to a group of students. We have had wonderful lecturers in the past speaking on themes such as leadership, first amendment rights, politics and motivational topics.”
Dr. Welch retired from the UNK Department of English after 38 years of teaching. He has continued to write, publish and lead workshops on writing poetry.  

More than 300 of Dr. Welch’s poems have appeared in magazines and journals throughout the United States, and examples of his work have been included in numerous anthologies. His composition handbook, A Shape a Writer CanContain, was published by the Nebraska Department of Education in 1979 and is still widely used in high school curricula throughout the state.

Dr. Welch is the recipient of the 2004 Sower Award in the humanities from the Nebraska Humanities Council and the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. He has also won six other national poetry awards, along with a number of state and regional awards.
During his tenure at UNK, Dr. Welch received both the Pratt-Heins and Nebraska State College Board of Trustees Awards for Teaching Excellence. He has also been a Nebraska Arts Council poet-in-residence in Nebraska public schools.

Charted at UNK in 1998, Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. Since its founding in 1918, the organization has grown from the four founding chapters to 214 collegiate and 43 alumni chapters with more than 240,000 initiated members across the nation.